Providence St. Joseph Health donates $1.43 million to local mental health programs

Gift to NAMI and National Council made in honor of the 143,000 caregivers, physicians, volunteers and board members who deliver our Mission every day

Every great social movement begins with a simple act. It starts with one person helping another, which in turn inspires the next person to do the same. Soon, there’s a chain reaction, with entire communities coming together to meet the need.

To truly address the nation’s growing mental health crisis, it will take all of us working together starting at the grassroots level. That is why Providence St. Joseph Health is looking for ways to empower our communities by giving people training and resources to support family, friends and neighbors living with mental illness and addiction.

Today, I am pleased to announce that we are donating $1.43 million to two programs that do exactly that. This donation is being made in honor of the 143,000 caregivers, physicians, volunteers and board members who make up Providence St. Joseph Health, a not-for-profit health system serving the Western United States.

The funds will be shared with the following programs and will go toward training individuals in the communities we serve across Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Texas.

1. Families helping other families

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Family-to-Family is a free education program for family members and loved ones of people impacted by mental health conditions. It’s taught by parents, spouses and siblings who have gone through similar experiences and who are giving back by volunteering to help others.

The full program is a comprehensive series of 12 classes. With funding from Providence St. Joseph Health, NAMI will create a shorter version to provide immediate assistance to the families and friends of those in crisis. In addition, NAMI will train new program leaders in the communities Providence St. Joseph Health serves. These program leaders, in turn, will share their training with thousands of more people in need. Our donation will also be used to provide training materials in different languages spoken in our communities.


2. Understanding the signs of mental illness and substance use 

Mental Health First Aid, sponsored by the National Council for Behavioral Health, is an eight-hour course that teaches people how to identify, understand and respond to signs of people with mental health and substance abuse problems. With this program, almost 700,000 people – from police and corrections officers to teachers and bus drivers to faith leaders and parents – now have the skills to recognize when someone needs help and the ability to help them get it.

With our donation, we’re adding momentum to and sustaining the Mental Health First Aid program in the communities Providence St. Joseph Health serves. The grant enables: 45 caregivers to be certified as instructors, the delivery of 1,300 Mental Health First Aid courses; and the training of 50,000 people living and working in the Providence St. Joseph Health communities.


Just the beginning

Supporting these two programs is part of a larger commitment to addressing the mental health crisis. When Providence Health & Services and St. Joseph Health came together in July to form Providence St. Joseph Health, we identified mental health as an urgent need in every community we serve.

We are proud to have the leadership of Maureen Bisognano, president emerita of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, in our efforts to address this critical issue. Maureen is serving as the chairwoman of our advisory panel on mental health and wellness. Read my blog post about Maureen’s involvement and the five ways we plan to address the mental health crisis in our communities.

In the meantime, it’s an honor to get started by partnering with NAMI and the National Council on these life-saving community programs. It’s even more of an honor to do so in the name of Providence St. Joseph Health caregivers who extend extraordinary acts of love, kindness and compassion to those in need on a daily basis.

Join the conversation

It’s Mental Illness Awareness Week! This is a great opportunity to raise awareness about this important cause. Help us spread the word.



  1. I am glad to see more people are focusing on mental health issues now than the past. I would love to take these classes on Mental health first aid when it becomes available for caregivers. Recently a friend’s
    daughter having some mental health problems, I sent them nami’s website,
    phone numbers. Thank you for sharing.

  2. When Providence St. Joseph Health announced their donation and committment to mental health,it made my HEART HAPPY. My daughter struggled with a dual diagnosis for 12 years. Community resources and education must be a priority. The stigma of mental illness sets up those who suffer for failure. I am blessed beyond words to be a part of this compassionate organization.

  3. It’s a blessing to be part of an organization.

    This commitment is an actual demonstration of what the holy scripture Matthew 25:34-40 outlines.

    A portion of that passage says “When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you?” “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’.

    Honored to work here everyday and support even in a tiny way to helping those who are in so much need.

    All I can say is ‘Wow’….

    Just amazing.

  4. I am so excited to see this happening and to work for an organization that finds mental health care important. I have said many times to my family how I wish there were more resources out there for individuals with mental illness and their families. My sister who lives in the San Francisco Bay area could not find anyone willing to take on her adolescent son as a patient. There were few pediatric practioners in her area, and non were taking new patients. I hope Providence St. Joseph Health can find a way to help that community also. Thank you for helping those who need it the most.

  5. An excellent investment with potential for profound impact. Mother Joseph would be proud…
    Thank you.

  6. Will this or other funding also support other NAMI programs such as NAMI Basics which is geared toward families with children and teens who have mental health challenges and/or In Our Own Voice peer presentations? Thank you for this financial commitment to help such a great area of need and provide for some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

  7. This is such an area of need in our community. We are seeing numerous adolescent attempted suicides, and there is a lack of resuources for their assessment and treatment. I hope Providence will include Pediatric mental health services in the programs being considered. Tjhank you.

  8. As a Providence Medical Group phone triage nurse I deal with patients experiencing mental health issues on a daily basis. I am also a reserve deputy sheriff with a large agency in Washington. During every shift I work for that orginization I deal with the same issues we see as health care professionals.
    I look forward to finding out more about these programs.

  9. As a person who just lost my sister to suicide this summer I am glad to see work being done. It is so important to increase awareness and resources and make them accessible to those in need – both families/friends and those with illness.

  10. Actions speak louder than words. Fortunate to be part of an organization that continues to evolve, enriching the lives and communities along the way.

    • Thank you. I feel the same way about our organization. Proud that we have a Mission that drives us to meet the needs of our communities.

  11. I have a family member with a severe mental illness, and took the 12-week NAMI course about 6 years ago. It is so heartening to hear that Providence is putting funding into this area of mental health awareness and care for the extended community. I’m proud to work for an organization that is taking steps to fix our perspectives on mental illness based on truth.

    There are so many lies and misunderstandings about mental illness – our nation really needs this education.

  12. As a functional adult with PTSD, I am pleased to see effort to help with this nationwide crisis. I am interested in becoming an instructor with the grant that is mentioned and am wondering if there will be more information shared with Providence caregivers.

    • We will keep our caregivers posted as more details become available. Thanks for your comment and for your interest in getting involved.

  13. As a long term Providence St. Peter Hospital employee and a teacher of the NAMI Program Family-to-Family her in Olympia WA, I want to say think you!

    • Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!! Your support and forward thinking will make a difference in the lives of thousands of individuals, and their families who are affected by these devastating illnesses. This is truly at the heart of the Mission of Providence.

    • Marilyn is a rockstar mental health advocate! Thank you, Marilyn.

  14. A wonderful use of resources. My husband and I took part in a Family to Family program in June, and it was one of the most worthwhile things we’ve ever done. NAMI is a great organization, so seeing Providence St. Joseph Health partnered with it is especially gratifying.

    • Thank you sharing about your experience. Looking forward to making it available to more people.

  15. As someone who has recently had a family member go through a severe mental health crisis, I applaud the financial support and efforts in raising awareness around this topic. Many thanks for focusing on difficult topics and supporting under-resourced areas within the scope of healthcare. Keep up the good work!

  16. Yet another affirmation that my core values and beliefs in my journey through life are so aligned with my work! Thank you!

  17. Good move